It is still a remote possibility, but also the collaboration between the USA and Russia is severely tested by the war in Ukraine and by the increasingly colder relations between the two nations. The officials of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos have in fact denounced the harmful effects of the sanctions on current and future programs, and in response to what was decided by Washington they have stopped the sale of domestic-made rocket engines to American companies and stopped the launch of the Soyuz from the European spaceport in French Guiana.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, even questioned Russia’s current participation in the International Space Station program and launched a series of not-so-friendly tweets, addressing some to former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. He, active in missions from 1996 to 2016, was guilty of having often tweeted in Russian about the invasion of Ukraine, also targeting Roscosmos and Rogozin, who last week released a video in which the technicians who affixed the flags of the nations participating in the mission of the Soyuz rocket that was supposed to depart from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, to launch 36 internet satellites of the British company OneWeb, were removing those of the USA, United Kingdom and Japan. The launch, scheduled for March 4, did not happen because OneWeb and the British government that owns part of the company refused to meet new demands imposed by Roscosmos.
“The Baikonur launchers decided that without the flags of some countries our rocket would have been more beautiful,” Rogozin wrote in Russian, finding Kelly’s prompt response: “Without those flags and foreign currency they carry with them, the your space program will be worth nothing. Maybe you can get a job at McDonald’s, if it still exists in Russia. “
Rogozin replied with a “Go away, you idiot, otherwise the death of the ISS will be on your conscience!” post that he later deleted while the American added to the dose with the joke: “Why did you delete this tweet? Don’t you want everyone to see what kind of child you are? “
“Mr. Scott Kelly,” Rogozin continued, “you provoke me unnecessarily, perhaps the dementia and aggression you have developed are a consequence of the overload and stress of four space flights. I invite you to take an examination at our Federal Agency for Medicine and Biology ”. Kelly was part of the crew of the International Space Station for three of its four space flights, spending about a year on board during its final mission which ran from March 2015 to March 2016, over 300 days together with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail. Kornienko. He was previously part of the mission to put the Hubble telescope into orbit by the Space Shuttle in 1999. All astronauts visiting the space station must speak both English and Russian, which explains Kelly’s ability to address Rogozin in his native language. The Russian manager is no stranger to aggressive language: in 2014, when he was Russian deputy prime minister, Rogozin suggested that NASA use a diving board to send his astronauts to the ISS. It was an expression of disappointment at the sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Crimea when Soyuz spacecraft were the only vehicles capable of transporting astronauts to and from the Station. And according to Reuters, when he announced last week that Russia would no longer sell rocket engines to US companies, Rogozin also said on Russian television: “Let them fly to something else, maybe on their broomsticks. . “